Parashat Tetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus 27:20-30:10
Maftir: Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Haftarah: I Samuel 15:1-34
This week’s Torah reading teaches about the Kohanim (Priests) and their garments. In the midst of the parashah one reads,
“And you shall take from the blood which is upon the altar and from the anointing oil and you shall sprinkle upon Aaron and his garments and upon his sons and upon the garments of his sons with him and he and his garments and his sons and his sons’ garments shall be holy with him.” Exodus 29:21
This verse is in the section of Scripture that deals with inaugurating the Kohanim for service. It is very significant that both blood and anointing oil are mentioned here. By means of the work of Messiah Yeshua, believers become a type of priesthood (See 1 Peter 2:9). It is important to note that the blood is not just any type of blood; but the text states that the blood must be taken from the altar. This means the source of the blood is from a sacrifice and therefore the blood is for the purpose of atonement. The idea here is that the priests could not serve HaShem until two things happened. First, the priests needed to come into contact with the blood. This contact involved both their garments and themselves, “…you shall sprinkle upon Aaron and his garments“. In other words, until one receives the blood of atonement, he is not able to serve G-d. The fact that both the priests and their garments received the blood informs the reader that not only does the atonement affect the person, but also one’s deeds (Scripture often mentions garments when symbolically referring to deeds or works). Secondly, the priests needed to be anointed with oil. Just like garments often refer to deeds or actions, oil refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This means that an individual is incapable of serving G-d until first he is cleansed by the blood of Messiah Yeshua and secondly anointed with the Holy Spirit.
The verse concludes with revealing to the reader that after atonement and anointing the person becomes Holy. In this context, the concept of holy is referring to being set apart for a specific purpose. Most of you who read this weekly article have already received by faith the redemptive blood of Yeshua and therefore are recipients of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that some of you have not realized that these two experiences have prepared you for service. Believers tend to walk through their lives without purpose. They fulfill their normal obligations of work, family, etc. but never really pursue the calling that a salvation experience brings about in each and every believer.
It is most significant that the Hebrew word for priest כהן is derived from a word which relates to service. As part of a royal priesthood, believers are called to serve. Obviously the giftedness that the Holy Spirit imparts to the believer is central in determining how one should serve G-d. What gift(s) have you received? This Shabbat, why not concentrate on I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:11-12 and pray to discover how you have been equipped to edify the body of Messiah.
Share this Post